Rafting White Salmon & Klickitat

One year and eight days since the last post about rafting… and I’ve only managed one post in between. Oh well, such is life with a kid.

Anyway, last month marked another year of me organizing some sort of river-based dude weekend. This time around we rafted the White Salmon and Kickitat Rivers, just north of Hood River, Oregon. Two friends and I loaded up in the swagger wagon on Friday morning; meeting Mike and another friend late afternoon in Hood River. We ate vittles and essentially brewery hopped until it was dark – which is about 10:30 pm during the summer in this part of the country. Hood River is about what you expect of a PNW town where young families go to escape the city and work their tech jobs remote. I was surprised the breweries weren’t all HOPS HOPS HOPS and was able to find a good many beers that I liked. Given most of the breweries are walkable and there are so many great nature things to do in the area, I can definitely see vacationing around them parts when Dom is a bit older.

Saturday we did a half day on the White Salmon, which was a fairly quick river squeezing down a sheer cliff canyon. This river had bigger waves with lulls in between, but I really like the closed in feel with all the greenery seeming to reach in on us. I think we did pretty well that day and no one fell in the drink, which they’d drilled into us that morning due to the somewhat dangerous and inescapable nature of the canyon. The video below is 15 minutes of highlights from this day – hit up the full youtube link here if you want a more detailed description. Also, we jumped off a 20′ bridge into the water near the end of the day. I almost chickened out, because I was afraid of falling off the bridge while climbing up to stand on the side, but I managed. Unfortunately, my gopro battery died by then.

Saturday night we camped up on a mountain I can’t remember at a campsite I can’t remember. Not everyone was super excited about the campsite, but I thought it was super quiet and backed up to a small river. We found a great little deli in the tiny town of White Salmon and treated ourselves to a quality dinner and breakfast. I don’t think I’ve ever had shrimp while camping, which is surprising and something I plan to change in the future. The downside to one night of camping and rafting the next morning is you set it up for about 14 hours. It was actually pretty chilly up on the mountain, despite it being June. All in all, a good night.

Sunday was a full day rafting the Klickitat. This river was wider, the waves were a bit smaller, but it was nearly non-stop action. It was actually a bit like riding a horse at time, with the constant bobbing on the waves mimicking cantering on a horse. The Kickitat also had a lot more to look at given it was surrounded by basalt formations created by volcanic flows before humankind was even a thing. We liked our guide from Saturday and had requested him on Sunday, so we went into the day already meshing well as a group (we didn’t share a boat either day). This river is safer and our guide already knew we all could manage ourselves, so we spent a bit more time goofing off on the river and sightseeing. We actually dumped two swimmers in the middle of the tamest rapid; hitting a random lone rock in the river while our guide was trying to point out an osprey nest. Everyone was able to swim back to the back and re-embark without dying, so all’s well that ends well.

I’d totally raft both rivers again… and we just may do them next year. Oh wait, maybe not… I want to raft in Colorado again for the 40th birthday.

In the meantime, here’s the video and pics.

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